Characters / The Queen's Thief

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  • Actually Pretty Funny: When Costis makes his "which is more unlikely, your deaths or an heir?" comment, Eugenides finds it hilarious.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: The only one who can invoke this from him is Attolia, in her very scary The High Queen persona.
  • Air-Vent Passageway: The escape by this method didn't work as well as it should have, thanks to interference from a certain someone. See Cosmic Plaything.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking
  • Badass Back
  • Badass Boast: "I can steal anything," followed by "I can do anything I want!" with a helping of Punctuated! For! Emphasis!.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's very knowledgeable about the old myths but also keeps up with the current plays and other scholastic affairs.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: He wanted to marry his love. He married her, along with all the responsibilities and obligations that came with the position.
  • Break the Cutie: Broken horribly and tragically in the second book. He comes back, but it's still noted afterwards that his health isn't what it was.
  • Brought Down to Normal: Subverted. Initially he and everyone else thinks that a one-handed thief is no thief at all, but as the magus says, he can still do something.
  • Bunny-Ears Lawyer: He pisses off everyone. Everyone. The family member who's the fondest of him says that being constantly angry with him is the correct reaction. But he is the best thief.
  • The Chessmaster: Particularly in King of Attolia. He promises Attolia that he can bring down Erondites' house in six months and it only takes him 98 days.
  • Comes Great Responsibility: As he tells Phresine, he has to keep his distaste for killing people a secret because he'll have to do it whether he wants to or not, since it comes with being King.
  • Consummate Liar: In the words of Eddis: "He always lies to me. He lies to himself. If Eugenides talked in his sleep, he'd lie then too."
  • Cosmic Plaything: The gods had a hand in some of his great, as well as his not so great achievements.
  • Crazy-Prepared
  • Dance of Romance: With Attolia in The King of Attolia.
  • Determinator: As Attolia points out in the fourth book, Gen will whine, he'll complain, he'll wriggle and procrastinate, but in spite of all that he will never quit.
  • The Dog Bites Back: In Queen of Attolia. He is in love with Attolia, granted, but the way he humiliates her after she cuts off his hand is definitely karmic.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: After his episode of Break the Cutie, his long hair is cut short and it stays that way for the rest of the series.
  • First-Person Smartass: In the first book only.
  • Gallows Humor: Thieves traditionally fall to their deaths, as he's happy to tell Costis while he is drunk-hopping on crenelations.
  • Gentleman Thief: Although he appears to be a common street thief in the first book, he's quite insistent that he's from a respectable family. From Eddis' royal family in point of fact.
  • Guile Hero: Basically whenever you think you know what Gen is up to, you don't. And even if you do, you don't know the half of it.
  • Hairy Hammerspace: Part of his first plot: hiding something essential in his long hair.
  • Happily Married: After a lot of trial and suffering, he and Irene—that is, the Queen of Attolia.
  • Heroic B.S.O.D./Heroic R.R.O.D.
  • He's Back: Makes a spectacular and ground-breaking return after his episode of Angst in the second book.
  • Hook Hand: From the second book onwards.
  • Hyper Awareness
  • Impossible Thief: He goes from a lowly thief in the prisons of Sounis at the beginning of the series to the sovereign of ''all three countries by the end of the series; Eddis, Sounis and Attolia. Though to be fair, he was in prison by his own choice and only pretending to be "lowly".
  • I Should Write a Book About This: How the first book came into being, apparently. Sophos does something similar to create A Conspiracy of Kings.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He enjoys provoking the hell out of people, is rude and sarcastic, and generally infuriates everyone he meets, but he's still a good friend who's trying to help the peninsular countries the best he can.
  • Jumped at the Call: When it comes to spying in Attolia. It loses him a hand.
  • Leap of Faith: He believes he'll only ever die of a fall if his god himself drops him. And once your god betrays you, you really don't have any hope left anyway.
  • Let's Get Dangerous!: Spends most of his time being a pain in the ass, but when you put his back to the wall watch out. The magus, Attolia, and the Mede found this out in different ways.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With Eddis, his cousin.
  • Love at First Sight: Towards the Queen of Attolia. He says that this kind of love doesn't last, mind, but he spies on her enough that it just gets stronger.
  • The Masochism Tango: With Attolia. First he fell in love with her from afar. He spent a lot of time sneaking around and watching her. Then she cut off his hand, causing him to go into a deep depression. Eventually he recovers, only to kidnap her and propose marriage.
  • Meaningful Name: Eugenides is also the name of the god of thieves, and as he's the Queen's Thief, it's his name as well as his title.
  • No Hero to His Valet: As much as his childhood friend and cousin Eddis respects him, she still says explicitly that she would sooner strangle him than marry him. She also tells the woman he's in love with how much of a liar he is.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: This is how he conducts his affairs. He routinely lies and breaks his promises to take it easy if he thinks he can get away with it.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In the first book. Funny thing is, he's the narrator, using the first-person perspective. Somehow he manages to fool the reader without leaving out anything that would be noticed. This also comes into play in the third book (although this time the reader is in on it), wherein the court in Attolia are lead to think he's an ineffectual Upper-Class Twit.
  • Pals with Jesus: Eugenides is noted for not only talking to his gods, but for having them talk back. Of course, they tell him things like "STOP WHINING" and "GO TO SLEEP", which he finds to be rather anticlimatic.
  • Pintsized Powerhouse: He's noted to be small (shorter than Attolia, for example) but he's a very effective fighter.
  • Quit Your Whining: When he spends a little too long lamenting his lost hand and the resulting war and visits the temple, the gods themselves tell him to get over it.
  • Reluctant Ruler: He married his wife because he loved her, not because he wanted her throne.
  • Reluctant Warrior: He hates killing and refused to follow his father into the army, which caused a lot of strife between them. But the final refusal came after years of learning how to fight.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Sherlock Scan: Particularly prominent in the first book (which is from his point of view), where he notices all sorts of small details about the magus and his party.
  • The Snark Knight: This is a main reason why everyone wants to hit him. He snarks at himself just as much.
  • The So-Called Coward: He doesn't like fighting, which makes people tend to assume that he's a coward who isn't good at it. They are very wrong.
  • Scars Are Forever: In escaping from the Attolians in The Thief, a flying stone chip leaves a feather-shaped cut on his cheek. The magus sympathetically hopes it'll heal cleanly, but Eugenides recognizes it as a mark of approval from his patron god (albeit a bloody one).
  • Stalker with a Crush: To Attolia. He fell in love with her while spying on her for Eddis and soon began spying on her in the times when she had the mask off.
  • Street Urchin: See Obfuscating Stupidity above.
  • Trickster Mentor: Towards Sophos, and towards some degree towards Costis. He makes liberal use of the Batman Gambit and Reverse Psychology, setting them up to do things by pissing them off.
  • Turn Out Like His Father: At first, he despised fighting and killing like his father did, but it soon became a necessary skill for him to keep his position and his life. He also turned out like his mother and grandfather, who were both thieves.
  • Unreliable Narrator: In The Thief, like you wouldn’t believe. See also Obfuscating Stupidity, above.

Eddis Helen

  • Altar Diplomacy: Much of her problems come from whether or not she's going to marry Sounis. Sounis and the magus plot to force her hand in the first book, but even in the second and fourth she admits she may have to in order to strengthen the coast against Mede invasion, even though he's an unpleasant man. When Sophos becomes Sounis the question becomes less odious, but still not easy.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: She's first seen wearing the same kind of things that her soldiers do, and she's got a broken nose from her life among them.
  • Badass Army: She has one. She also leads it.
  • Boyish Short Hair: As part of her practical, unfeminine appearance.
  • The Chessmaster: Works with Eugenides to manipulate and spy on the Peninsula in order to keep herself and her country strong and independent. One Attolian soldier in the third book remarks that she has to be every bit as cunning and ruthless as Attolia to achieve that.
  • Dreaming of Things to Come: The fourth book reveals that the gods have been sending her dreams of an eruption of the Sacred Mountain that will kill everyone if she doesn't empty the country to the lowlands. It's not going to happen for another century, but given the event she has to start fixing it now.
  • Ironic Name: She's explicitly not beautiful. Her name is Helen.
  • Like Brother and Sister: With her cousin, Eugenides.
  • Meaningful Name: Of the ironic variety. It's made quite clear that her beauty is all on the inside.
  • Modest Royalty: She prefers soldiers' clothing and only wears finery when she's forced to look opulent for publicity purposes.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: Eddis is a very active monarch and probably the most pleasant in personality, though she admits her circumstances are much more fortunate than the rulers of Attolia and Sounis.
  • She Is the King: The female variant is actually "Eddia", but she deliberately took Eddis.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Tomboy to Attolia's Girly Girl.
  • Unexpected Successor: She had two older brothers, but they died suddenly of illness and left her the sole heir.

The Minister of War

  • Actually, I Am Him: When the minister makes a dismissive comment and the magus defends Eugenides as a son any father would be proud of, all of the Eddisans in the room are highly amused.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He is every bit as capable of fighting as the soldiers under his command.
  • Badass Army: He leads one.
  • Four-Star Badass
  • Papa Wolf: Downplayed example, since he is also The Stoic, and given his position and the political elements of the series, he cannot actually strike out at the woman who cut off his son's hand. He does make it as clear to her as he can that he is very angry with her for it.
  • Shoot the Dog: When he and Eugenides are taken prisoner, he uses his bonds to strangle his son until Attolia stops it—not because he hates Eugenides, but because it would be better for Eddis.
  • The Stoic: According to Eddis, he, like his son, will not admit when he is in pain.

Attolia Irene

  • Afraid of Blood: Not notably. But she does faint when she sees her husband's blood and realizes how severe his injury is.
  • Arranged Marriage: In her backstory. Her dad fobbed her off on another house as she was only a minor princess.
  • Badass Army: She has one that's absolutely devoted to her, in the form of the Queen's guard.
  • Big Brother Is Watching : This quote from the third book sums it up.
    Attolia: "I have trusted you, and no, that does not mean that I have not had you watched and that I do not have spies that watch my spies, and spies even that watch those."
  • Broken Bird: She was pawned off on an asshole husband, and after she took control of her country, she had no choice except to be totally ruthless to maintain her power thanks to the misogyny on top of the fact that her barons are untrustworthy power-grubbers.
  • The Chessmaster: She's playing Nahuseresh far better than he thinks he's playing her and manages to subvert his plans in plain sight of him.
  • Dance of Romance: With Eugenides, in "The King of Attolia".
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most people are too scared of her to perceive her sense of humor, but it's very dry and often verges into Black Comedy.
  • Defrosting Ice Queen: A major plot point in "The Queen of Attolia" is how much of her emotion she's locked away for the good of her country. In "The King of Attolia", her husband tells her mentor that a heartless queen would end up hurting the country in the end.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending
  • Establishing Character Moment: When she has Gen's hand cut off. She spends a lot of time in the first and second books mellowing out.
  • The Extremist Was Right: Even Eddis has to admit that Attolia's ruthlessness was necessary both to survive the Deadly Decadent Court and to set her country in a good direction.
  • Gallows Humor: When Eugenides is outraged at an ambassador, she defuses it by offering him her goblet—which was how she killed her first husband. He finds this absolutely hilarious.
  • God Save Us from the Queen!: Played with. Really, she's ruthless because it's the only way to survive as a female ruler in a sexist government. The Attolian lower class seems to love her, at least the ones we've seen.
  • Guile Heroine: It started when she was sent to live with her future husband's family, where they spoke openly of their plot to take the throne. She stayed quiet and demure and secretly collected poisonous leaves, then sold most of her jewelry to buy the palace guard over to her side.
  • Happily Married: To Eugenides, in spite of the hand amputation. He's one of the few who sees her as a person.
  • Heel Realization: She realizes she's hit a new low after she cuts off a boy's hand.
  • Hidden Depths: As Eugenides says, she does have a heart. She's just had to wall it away because of her position.
  • The High Queen: Attolia is beautiful, serene, terrifying, and inspires both great loyalty and great fear in her close allies. She ruefully describes herself as a magnificent war chariot, scything down friend and foe alike.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Attolia's cruelties were all to keep her country stable and in the hands of someone who wanted the country to prosper.
  • Ironic Name: Her given name is Irene, which means peace.
  • Kick the Dog: Most of her cruelties were committed in the name of stabilizing her rule and her country. Cutting off Eugenides' hand was an act of pure spite.
  • The Masochism Tango: Mentioned above, with Eugenides. When you cut your love interest's hand off, you know you have this trope.
  • Meaningful Name: Irony, again, as her name means “peace", and her reign has been brought with violence.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: To her Mede ambassador. Leads to a Crowning Moment of Awesome.
  • Oblivious to Love: Everyone from here to Sounis knew that Dite was madly in love with her... except for her. She thinks it's a joke when she finds out.
  • Pals with Jesus: Indirectly, as she is married to the chosen one of the gods, Eugenides.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something
  • Sherlock Scan
  • The Strategist
  • Sugar and Ice Personality: Mostly ice; even when she's angry, it's cold. However, she does still have human emotions, which she's able to show around her husband Eugenides.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: The Girly Girl to Eddis' Tomboy.
  • Tranquil Fury: When she gets mad, this is how it plays. It's very rare that she ever shouts or pitches things.
  • Unexpected Successor: Her brother was king, but her future husband's family had him killed so they could seize the throne through her. And then she poisoned him.
  • The Woman Wearing the Queenly Mask



  • Big Brother Is Watching: He is Big Brother, as Attolia's spymaster.
  • Broken Ace: After he is imprisoned and tortured for his failures. Though he remains the Queen's confidant, it's noted that he's not up to being her full-time spymaster again.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: With Teleus.
  • The Mentor: He taught Attolia everything she knows about how to survive as a sovereign Queen.
  • Rags to Riches: Started as an underservant who was dragged out for spying on the new Queen until he offered to teach her how to navigate the cutthroat world of Attolian politics.
  • The Spymaster: His official position is "Secretary of the Archives," but he spies on everything and everyone inside Attolia and as much as he can outside of it.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Attolia. Even after she imprisons and tortures him.

Costis Ormentiedes

  • Berserk Button: The honor of the Queen's guard, his own honor, honor in general.
  • The Chew Toy: Most of the third book is about him getting punished, ostracized, provoked, humiliated, being called out in the middle of the night because the king has gone nuts...
  • Did I Say That Out Loud: Costis' response to the king saying the way he can get out of serving him is if both he and Attolia were killed and he instead served their heir, an option the king says is unlikely. To which Costis asks if he means both of them dying or them making a heir. It's only after the words leave his mouth that he realizes what a huge mistake he made in saying them...
  • Field Promotion: The king promotes Costis to lieutenant so he can have him as a personal guard, long before Costis would have been considered ready by himself or Teleus.
  • Honor Before Reason: Seems to be a theme with members of the Guard, but even they think Costis takes it too far.
  • Knight in Shining Armor: He sees himself as one to Attolia, mentally referring to her as "my Queen" rather than the more proper "Your Majesty".
  • Love Epiphany: Not so much love as loyalty, but not long after Costis says he'd happily see the king choke to death accidentally, he finds himself making a wild charge through hunting dogs and high-ranking officials to save Eugenides' life. He finds himself re-evaluating that statement in light of his own actions.
  • Oh, Crap!: When he realizes that the dogs were released to occupy the Guard and leave the king alone in the garden.
  • Rage Breaking Point: Very early in King of Attolia, when he punches said king in the face for mocking the Guard's inability to protect their queen in the previous book. Turns out this was all part of the plan for Eugenides—by changing Costis' mind he hoped to change Teleus'.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: To Eugenides, saying that he sits on the throne like a printer's apprentice among other things.
  • Undying Loyalty: To Attolia at first, then eventually Eugenides as well. It causes him no amount of conflicting emotions, partly because he doesn't realize that Eugenides and Attolia actually do love each other for another hundred pages or so, and is worried he might be forced to choose between them.


  • Honor Before Reason: Surprisingly averted, unlike other guardsmen.
  • Odd Couple: A pragmatic okloi, best friends with Costis, an honor-bound patronoi.
  • Unwitting Pawn: He delivers a message (which tells an ill-intentioned prankster to let the hunting dogs loose in the king's path) and is later promoted to a squad leader specifically so that he'll be he New Meat unable to stop an assassination attempt on the King.

Baron Erondites

Erondites the Younger (Dite)

  • All Love Is Unrequited: He is madly, desperately in love with Attolia (one reason his father tolerates him was the off-chance that Dite might woo her). Unfortunately for him, she has absolutely no idea.
  • Bawdy Song: He wrote one called "The King's Wedding Night". It proves to be an Ear Worm around court and becomes a plot point later.
  • The Unfavorite: His father hates him and only won't disinherit him because he'd only have Sejanus left.


  • Big Brother Instinct: Though he's the younger brother, he's favored by their father and treated as the would-be heir, so he tries to look out for Dite. He hates Eugenides and tries to have him killed mainly because Dite is so in love with the queen, and confessed to a crime he didn't commit to save Dite.
  • Graceful Loser: When Eugenides tears down his entire house in the space of fifteen minutes and leaves him just his and Dites' life, Sejanus accepts it stoically and calls him by the archaic title 'Basileus' as he's arrested.
  • The Hyena: Whether the joke ends up on him or someone else, Sejanus always laughs.
  • Jerk Ass: The only reason he's popular is that people like him mocking the people they dislike, and they also don't want to end up as a target.
  • Jerk with a Heart of Gold: He actually loves his brother, he just pretends not to so their father doesn't separate them.
  • Mugging the Monster: Like many of the Attolians, he underestimates Eugenides as a pawn of the queen of Eddis, and falls for his Obfuscating Stupidity.
  • Smug Snake: He thinks himself very clever, smiling even as he's accused of treason. Unfortunately for him, his inability to disguise his hatred of the king means that he totally failed to enact the "make myself indispensable" part of the Baron's plan to manipulate the throne.


  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Although he's the most unpleasant ruler on the Peninsula, Sounis is a legitimate warrior.
  • Jerk Ass: Sounis is a ruthless, unpleasant man who quite happily mistreats Gen. Gen is later able to use his penchant for temper against him.

The Magus

  • Authority Equals Asskicking: He was a soldier before becoming magus.
  • Badass Bookworm: He's probably the most scholarly character in the books, but he's a skilled fighter and an incredibly capable royal servant.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: In Queen of Attolia, he tries to return Eugenides' spirits by saying there are still things he can do. Eugenides takes him at his word and steals the magus by framing him for the destruction of Sounis' navy. The magus didn't mean he should do that!
  • The Chessmaster: He's the architect of the plan to steal Hamiathes' Gift, which would force Eddis to marry Sounis. He's also mentioned later as having fought spy-to-spy with Relius.
  • Cool Teacher: To Sophos and Ambiades.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Thus far, his real name has not been revealed.
  • Guile Hero: In the first book he devises a plan to conquer Eddis without warfare by compelling the queen to marry Sounis through her country's sacred artifact.
  • Out-Gambitted: By Eugenides, who knew that this plan was in the works and planted himself in the magus' party as their thief.
  • The Professor: When he's not plotting, he's studying botany and applying historical analysis to legends and myths.
  • Quip to Black



  • Awesome Moment of Crowning: After he uses two well-placed bullets as his second argument, the council of barons unanimously confirms him as king.
  • Bad Liar: Everything he feels shows on his face, but he and Eugenides figure out how to turn this to their advantage.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: He tries to win over the barons with an idealistic speech about how they need to ally with Eddis and Attolia to prevent a Mede conquest. It doesn't work. So he shoots the chief conspirator against him very dead and asks for a new vote. They confirm him as King unanimously.
  • Break the Cutie: During A Conspiracy of Kings, when he is kidnapped, becomes a slave, and is generally thrust neck-deep into the cutthroat politics of his world, where everyone is trying to manipulate him.
  • The Bus Came Back: He doesn't appear at all in the middle two books, but he's the protagonist of the fourth.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: A Conspiracy of Kings is about this.
  • Heroic Self-Deprecation: He thinks of himself as a spineless weakling unworthy to succeed his uncle. At one point he says that his gift is knowing that he is an ass. (In fairness, so few people do.)
  • Made a Slave: He's hidden by his kidnappers this way in Conspiracy of Kings, along with some beating to make his face unrecognizable. He actually likes it better than being the heir.
  • Obfuscating Stupidity: In A Conspiracy of Kings. Everyone thinks he's an idiot and his emotions show on his face. So he lets everyone think he's a gormless, naive dolt while he plans to show them all that he is 1. smart and 2. definitely ruthless enough to succeed his uncle.
  • Royals Who Actually Do Something: He's put on the dangerous trip to steal Hamiathes' Gift in The Thief. He racks up more considerable achievements in the fourth book, starting when he saves his father from assassination and escapes enslavement at the same time.
  • Slasher Smile: A scar he got from the identity-concealing beating of his capture turns his normal smile into this. Once he sees it, he realizes it's an asset—it makes him look like his uncle.
  • Took a Level in Badass: During A Conspiracy of Kings. Not only does he start using his brains for practical and political ends, his time digging and building walls makes him much tougher physically.
  • Unfit for Greatness: Initially. He's keenly aware of how disappointment he is to his father and uncle, being a soft, shy, scholarly boy instead of shaping himself into a cunning fighter like Sounis. The realization that he's failed his family and his country hits him hard in the fourth book, and he launches himself out of this trope as hard as he can.


  • Jerkass: Is a serious jerk to Sophos, who hero-worships him, not to mention anyone who he perceives as being from a lower class (most noticeably Gen).
  • Impoverished Patrician: His family was disgraced a generation ago and then his father gambled away what remained of the family's money.
  • The Mole: He was secretly working for Attolia as they offered to pay him and his family quite handsomely.


  • Ass in Ambassador: Like all the Mede ambassadors that follow, Nahuseresh is smug, imperious, and there only to bring about a Mede conquest of the peninsula.
  • Bad Liar
  • Big Damn Heroes
  • The Chessmaster
  • Diplomatic Impunity: He can get away with a lot because a wise ruler knows that insulting a Mede ambassador too flagrantly will give them a pretext for invasion.
  • Fan Nickname: Nahuserfish.
    • And occasionally Nahuserloser.
  • Karma Houdini: So far he hasn't been truly punished for his misdeeds, apart from being disgraced for a time after the second book.
  • Kick the Dog: He's the one who convinces Attolia to cut off Gen's hand.
  • Playing Both Sides: He's happy to pit Attolia against Sounis in an effort to weaken both.
  • Stupid Evil: Even knowing that Attolia is considered a ruthless tyrant by her enemies and simply ruthless by her allies, he persists in thinking of her as a naive little woman.
  • Underestimating Badassery: He assumes that he has Attolia wrapped around his little finger. Boy, was he surprised.